- Proteas fast bowler Anrich Nortje is keen to use SuperSport Park’s bouncy pitch to his advantage ahead of the opening Test.
- Nortje is expected to spearhead the Proteas bowling attack alongside Lungi Ngidi at Centurion.
- The 27-year-old also says that he isn’t too concerned over the Proteas’ lack of red-ball action.
Proteas bowler Anrich Nortje has given a friendly warning to the Sri Lankan batsmen ahead of Saturday’s opening Test at SuperSport Park, Centurion.
The 27-year-old will be a vital cog in helping the Proteas gain revenge for Sri Lanka’s upset 2-0 Test series defeat in 2019.
There’s a lot of expectation surrounding the 27-year-old despite Nortje only playing six Tests for South Africa thus far.
With star bowler Kagiso Rabada injured, Nortje and Lungi Ngidi will likely share the new ball this weekend.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Nortje admitted that although the side is inexperienced, there is a lot of belief within the camp.
“It’s a big loss not to have KG at the moment but I’m excited about the opportunity. I’m just excited to run in with the red-ball at SuperSport Park, where there’s some bounce and there could be cracks later on, which I’m excited about from a bowling perspective,” he said.
“We are inexperienced … but the most important thing is to try and stick together and make the best out of the situation… It’s all about putting in the performances as a unit. The guys are very keen and we had a good couple of days of training so I’m very excited about this series…. “
SuperSport Park is notoriously known for its pace and bounce and according to Nortje, it’s something that the Proteas will use to their advantage to get one over Mickey Arthur’s side.
“We are aware that the last time they were here they did beat us, it’s something we want to rectify. Hopefully, we do it but by just being as simple as possible,” Nortje told reporters on Thursday.
“There’s going to be a bit more bounce and pace [at Centurion] we’ll use that to our advantage but we don’t want to get carried away.
“We try and see from every angle what we can do [against certain batsmen] and they’re competing in different conditions… If there is someone who is not comfortable against the short ball, he will definitely get it but if they are comfortable then we won’t bowl it too much – although he’ll still get it,” Nortje continued.
“It’s just about reading the conditions … but you don’t want to look too deep at it.”
Despite being out of action for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, Nortje came out firing at this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).
He took 22 wickets for the Delhi Capitals in his debut season as he finished as the fourth-leading highest wicket-taker of the tournament.
Nortje insisted that he isn’t too concerned over the lack of red-ball practice leading up to the opening Test on Saturday.
“Red-ball [cricket] has always been the format that I’ve been selected the most. It’s not like T20 cricket where you got to think quickly, it’s more about being consistent and hitting your straps more times than not,” said Nortje.
“(Test cricket) is more about the rhythm and how the body is feeling. I am aware but I’m comfortable with having the red ball back in my hand and I’m positive about the next two games.”
Nortje’s Warriors team-mate Glenton Stuurman is also tipped to receive his maiden Test cap this weekend. Nortje stated that he is impressed by what he has seen and heard about Stuurman.
“He is a very good bowler, he’s got a lot of control and skill. I haven’t played with him a lot but having seen him in the nets and what I’ve heard, he’s got a lot of talent,” said Nortje.
“I think he can really trouble guys, especially at Centurion, by asking the right questions and that’s something he can bring to the team. I don’t want to label him but he can sort of [fulfil] a Vernon (Philander) role… I’m excited for him as well.”
Play on Saturday starts at 10:00.